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Joseph Parker with coach Kevin Barry
Joseph Parker with coach Kevin Barry
Image: Twitter, Kevin Barry

One to watch: A knockout specialist with his eye on Anthony Joshua

Don’t say we didn’t warn you, Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker looks destined to have a big 2016.
Jan 2nd 2016, 9:20 PM 10,402 7

LIKE OR LOATHE him, Tyson Fury has taken heavyweight boxing off the ropes and blown the division wide open.

The Wladimir Klitschko guard has been breached and it also conveniently coincides with a wave of promising young heavyweight boxers making names for themselves.

Boxing fans are getting excited about this weight class once again.

British fighter Anthony Joshua is widely expected to join Fury at the sport’s top table.

Another is ‘Explosive’ Joseph Parker and it’s a name worth remembering.

The unbeaten Kiwi heavyweight is being tipped as a future world champion following a remarkable start to his pro career that is not yet four years old.

New Zealand boxing hasn’t had a talent like Parker, 23, since powerhouse David Tua burst on to the heavyweight scene 20 years ago.

Source: SKY Sport NZ/YouTube

There is a lot of talk – as boxing does best – that Parker (17-0, 15 KO) is being lined up to take on British beast Joshua (15-0, 15 KO) in 2016. Tasty.

For the excitement that Joshua and Fury are generating in this part of the world, Parker is matching it down south. And while he is yet to face any top fighters in their prime, Parker is proving himself as a young fighter with plenty of pedigree.

Fury, Joshua and the likes of Deontay Wilder look among the most likely to dominate the division for years to come. But don’t discount the New Zealander, either.

Parker, who is blessed with speed and power, is in capable hands with former Olympic medallist (silver in Los Angeles, 1984) Kevin Barry in his corner.

The orthodox fighter has swatted aside all rivals before him to date with his last five bouts only lasting a combined 12 rounds. Most of Parker’s fights have taken place in New Zealand so he is still under the radar in the grand scheme of things.

Having said that, Parker is already recognised as one of the top heavyweight boxers in the world; ranked No 3 by the WBO, 10th in the IBF, 10th with the WBC and 12th by the WBA.

The Aucklander was recently asked to spar with Fury ahead of his world title victory against Klitschko last month but Parker had to decline the offer due to travel and time concerns. And a previous sparring session with Klitschko drew high praise from the Ukranian.

Parker’s next opponent is American southpaw Jason Bergman on 23 January but he will need to fight bigger names this year after that, assuming he is victorious, if he is to get closer to a title shot – and that’s exactly the plan.

There are already negotiations under way to get Parker serious US TV time in the next 12 months and a number of top 10 rankings rivals have been sounded out about taking on the New Zealander.

It is possible that Parker and Joshua, as both are young and undefeated, will avoid each other for now. But with the way they are progressing their paths are bound to cross at some stage.

New Zealand is already excited about this guy, it’s time the rest of the world was too.

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Alan Waldron

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